Monday, August 15, 2011

Pentagon to use Facebook, Twitter as a resource and weapon

This is no great surprise after the recent comments on the social media's role in civil unrest - yet it's been on the agenda for quite a while, just surfacing now that public opinion is more open to the possibility:

The Pentagon is developing plans to use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter as both a resource and a weapon in future conflicts. Its research and development agency is offering 42 million dollars in funding to anyone who can help, the New York Times reports.

According to the NYT article, social media will change the nature of warfare just as surely as the telegraph, the radio and the telephone did, and the Pentagon does not want to be caught falling short on this score.

Some of its goals were laid out in a document being circulated among potential researchers and is to be presented at a briefing on Tuesday in Arlington, Virginia, at the offices of the military contractor System Planning Corporation. As social media play increasingly large roles in fomenting unrest in countries like Egypt and Iran, the U.S. military wants systems to be able to detect and track the spread of ideas both quickly and on a broad scale.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is soliciting innovative proposals to help build what would be, at its most basic level, an Internet meme tracker. It would be useful to know, for instance, whether signs of widespread rebellion were authentic or whether they were being created by a fringe group with little real support. Among the tools the successful seeker of government funding might choose to employ: linguistic cues, patterns of information flow, topic trend analysis, sentiment detection and opinion mining.

Social networks can allow the military not only to follow but also to shape the action.

Read original article - 'Pentagon to use Facebook, Twitter as a resource and weapon in future conflicts'

Monday, July 11, 2011

Will electric cars ever take over our roads?

The debate continues whilst the technology gets better.....and now the Mini is giving it a good shot:

Leo Hickman test drives the Mini E.
Leo Hickman test drives the Mini E. Photograph: Martin Godwin
On 6 July last year, the US Patents and Trademark Office in Virginia received an application from General Motors to trademark the term "range anxiety". With just a few months to go before GM was set to launch its much-anticipated Chevy Volt – a plug-in hybrid, which would go on to earn the title of "most fuel-efficient compact car in the US" – the company's marketing team was on the offensive. It knew that prospective buyers would need to be convinced early on that the Volt would not have a limited range, as has proved the case with standard electric cars. "It's something we call 'range anxiety' – and it's real," explained Joel Ewanick, GM's head of marketing, when quizzed about the trademark application by car gossip website "We're going to position this as a car first and electric second . . . People do not want to be stranded on the way home from work."

"Range anxiety" is very much on my own mind as I traverse the M40 between London and Oxford at 70mph in a prototype all-electric Mini E lent to me for the morning by BMW, the company currently conducting the world's most comprehensive trial aimed at gathering data on what it will take to convince people to ditch the internal combustion engine and go electric. (Yes, the same BMW that sells around 1.5m internal combustion engines globally each year.) As I look down at the gauge showing me that the car has less than 50% charge left, I have to keep reminding myself that the engineer who showed me round the car at Mini's Mayfair showroom said the car's 100-mile range at full charge would "easily" get me the 55 miles to BMW's Cowley plant just outside Oxford – with or without the air-con on full blast.

Read more here - 'Will electric cars ever take over our roads?'


Monday, May 16, 2011

GameSave - gaming emergency relief

I just discovered this very surprising initiative: GameSave, launched by a group called "Geeks Without Bounds", a "not-for-profit alliance of hackers, coders and geeks united by the common goal of assisting communities in distress."

From the website:

"GameSave is a hack-a-thon style event which takes place over the course of 5 weeks, during which multiple teams of game developers and emergency relief professionals will each create a complete game concept and working demo aimed at an aspect of disaster relief." They're basically taking something a lot of people do (gaming) and turning it into a tool to help mitigate disasters.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Climate Change and Society

John Urry
Climate Change & Society

“A tour de force! Urry shows the centrality of the social – both to comprehend the meaning of the carbon catastrophe that besets us and, thereby, to discover the possibility of a post-carbon society. Essential reading for all.”
Michael Burawoy, University of California, Berkeley

This book explores the significance of human behavior to understanding the causes and impacts of changing climates and to assessing varied ways of responding to such changes. So far the discipline that has represented and modeled such human behavior is economics.

By contrast Climate Change and Society tries to place the “social” at the heart of both the analysis of climates and of the assessment of alternative futures. Urry thus attempts to replace economics with sociology as the dominant discipline in climate change analysis. Sociology has spent much time examining the nature of modern societies, of modernity, but mostly failed to analyze the carbon resource base of such societies. This book seeks to remedy that failing. It should appeal to teachers and students in sociology, economics, environmental studies, geography, planning, politics and science studies, as well as to the public concerned with the long term future of carbon and society.

The Author

John Urry is Professor of Sociology at Lancaster University.

Publication Details

        Publishing 13 May, 2011 • 216 pages
978-0-7456-5036-4 Hardback £55.00                                       978-0-7456-5037-1 Paperback £15.99
For More Information/ Interviews/ Review Copy Requests
Contact Amandine Decam, Polity Marketing Tel: 07825 678552 Email:

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

'Blackberry thumb’ is new health hazard

The UK's Telegraph has a post on how the widespread use of hand-held devices at work has spawned a new condition - the  ''BlackBerry thumb'!

Tennis elbow, writer’s block and even athlete’s foot are problems than can cause considerable discomfort and more than a little embarrassment...

..."BlackBerry thumb" is the name given to a repetitive strain injury caused by overusing mobile phones to send emails and texts. The condition is so common that one law firm believes employers can expect a series of lawsuits from staff claiming compensation. Karen Jackson, a co-founder of the solicitors Roberts Jackson, of Wilmslow, Cheshire, said: “If no one knows about the risks involved, they won’t sue, but more and more people are becoming aware of health hazards in the workplace. 

'''BlackBerry thumb’ is the overuse of a mobile phone for work purposes and we envisage potential work in this area as more people are using their handsets when they’re on the move, which is leading to repetitive strain injury.

Read original post - ''Blackberry thumb’ is new health hazard'


Monday, April 04, 2011

Motorway lights to be turned off to cut carbon

Well... is this a move to seriously 'cut carbon' or is it the beginning of the UK's austerity measures?? This post  from The Telegraph reports how lights on three stretches of motorway are to be permanently switched off to 'save cash, cut carbon emissions and reduce light pollution'.....mmm....

The initial “switch off” was one of the first policies to emerge from voters who were asked how to help the Coalition identify where spending cuts could be made.
Shortly after becoming Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond, said all areas of spending were under review.
At the time it triggered fears that road safety could be put at risk, given what had happened when lights were turned off in some towns and villages.

In Wales Powys Council was forced to switch 1,400 street lights back on after public protests.
But such concerns proved to be unfounded, according to Derek Turner, Director for the Highways Agency as he unveiled plans involving 15.9 miles of motorway in north west England. “Evidence so far indicates that switching off the lights hasn’t had an impact on safety,” he said....

 Read more at - 'Motorway lights to be turned off to cut carbon'


Friday, April 01, 2011

EU to ban cars from cities by 2050

The UK's Telegraph reports on the latest EU carbon-cutting masterplan - to ban cars from London and all other cities across Europe in an attempt to cut CO2 emissions by 60 per cent over the next 40 it realizable?

The European Commission on Monday unveiled a "single European transport area" aimed at enforcing "a profound shift in transport patterns for passengers" by 2050. The plan also envisages an end to cheap holiday flights from Britain to southern Europe with a target that over 50 per cent of all journeys above 186 miles should be by rail.
Top of the EU's list to cut climate change emissions is a target of "zero" for the number of petrol and diesel-driven cars and lorries in the EU's future cities. Siim Kallas, the EU transport commission, insisted that Brussels directives and new taxation of fuel would be used to force people out of their cars and onto "alternative" means of transport. "That means no more conventionally fuelled cars in our city centres," he said. "Action will follow, legislation, real action to change behaviour."

"If he wants to bring everywhere to a grinding halt and to plunge us into a new dark age, he is on the right track. We have to keep things moving. The man is off his rocker." Mr Kallas has denied that the EU plan to cut car use by half over the next 20 years, before a total ban in 2050, will limit personal mobility or reduce Europe's economic competitiveness.

Read original post - 'EU to ban cars from cities by 2050'


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Home Internet May Get Even Faster in South Korea

The New York Times has a post on how South Korea, which already claims the world’s fastest Internet connections, now seeks to go even speed:

By the end of 2012, South Korea intends to connect every home in the country to the Internet at one gigabit per second. That would be a tenfold increase from the already blazing national standard and more than 200 times as fast as the average household setup in the United States. 

A pilot gigabit project initiated by the government is under way, with 1,500 households in five South Korean cities wired. Each customer pays about 30,000 won a month, or less than $27.“South Korean homes now have greater Internet access than we do,” President Obama said in his State of the Union address last month. Last week, Mr. Obama unveiled an $18.7 billion broadband spending program. 

While Americans are clip-clopping along, trailing the Latvians and the Romanians in terms of Internet speed, the South Koreans are at a full gallop. Their average Internet connections are far faster than even No. 2 Hong Kong and No. 3 Japan, according to the Internet analyst Akamai Technologies.

Read more at - 'Home Internet May Get Even Faster in South Korea'


Monday, March 28, 2011

Mind control puts you in charge of driverless cars

New Scientist has a post on the prospect of driverless cars using the power of the human mind:

In a step beyond the plans laid by DARPA and Google to create cars that drive themselves, engineers led by Raul Rojas at the Free University of Berlin in Germany have developed a largely autonomous car whose speed and direction can be the driver's thoughts. Why do this, you may well ask? Well, imagine your autonomous taxi of the future (think of the Johnny Cabs in Total Recall) is taking you home the wrong way. You just think "right here" and the car will turn and plan a fresh route. Or you change your mind about where you're going mid-journey: again, that's no problem with a thought-mediated drive-by-wire override capability.And people with disabilities that prevent them driving regular cars could experience driving by controlling at least some of the car's functions, too..

...Presumably to ensure everyone knows this is a German innovation in the face of the massive Google/DARPA juggernaut, the smart, semi-autonomous Volkswagen Passat has been christened 'MadeInGermany'. One begins to understand why engineers are not in charge of branding. Anyway, using laser radars, microwave radars and stereo cameras, the car can perform 360-degree obstacle detection and sense a car in front from its fenders up to 200 metres away. In all respects it's a state-of-the-art autonomous car - fully capable of driving itself or interfacing with other interesting control systems like the iPad or iPhone.

Read more at - 'Mind control puts you in charge of driverless cars'


Friday, March 25, 2011

The mobile phone app that 'spots cancer'

The  UK's Daily Mail has a post about a new  mobile phone app that spots cancer and which is more accurate than the techniques routinely used in hospitals:

The smartphone-based system is up to 100 per cent accurate at telling the difference between benign tumours and their malignant counterparts. It also takes just an hour to make the diagnosis, meaning patients don’t have to spend days or weeks anxiously waiting for test results...

...In future, the smartphone system could be adapted to spot brain, skin and ovarian cancers quickly and accurately.The tiny amount of tissue needed - one thousandth of a millilitre - would also spare patients the pain and risk of having repeatedly having pieces of their growth cut away for testing. And with the most expensive piece of equipment costing just £60 or so, the system would be cheap to run.

Read more at - 'The mobile phone app that 'spots cancer''


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rise in drivers using Twitter

The UK's Telegraph has a report on how increasing numbers of motorists are using Facebook and Twitter while driving with potentially ''catastrophic consequences'', according to police:

Devon and Cornwall Police said it was catching more and more people using mobile phones with internet capability while behind the wheel, creating a high danger of crashing.
It urged drivers to show greater care, saying that rules banning the use of mobile phones while driving had now been in place for a ''long, long time''.Inspector Richard Price, from the force's roads policing unit, said: ''With the new mobile phones, it is becoming more commonplace for people to use them to access social media than for texting while driving.''The availability of information is sometimes too tempting to drivers and often they will be picking up the phone and updating their (Facebook) site.
''It really is unacceptable.''
The force has launched Operation Vortex to clamp down on ''complacent and arrogant behaviour'' by drivers.
It said research by the RAC had shown one in five motorists in the south-west had admitted to checking social media alerts whilst driving, making this a particular focus of the campaign alongside speeding, drink-driving and failing to wear a seatbelt.

 Read more at - 'Rise in drivers using Twitter'


Monday, March 21, 2011

Mobile phones could run for months between charges

The UK's Telegraph has a short post about how mobile phones could soon run for months rather than days between charges, after scientists discovered how to make them work more efficiently:

A team of electrical engineers at Illinois University in the US believe their method will enable mobiles and laptops to run for up to 100 times longer between charges.
It focuses on changing the way a device's digital memory works, as this consumes much of the charge.
At the moment mobile phone memories contain thin metal wires. Every time information is accessed, electricity is passed through them to retrieve the data. The electrical engineers thought that if the size of the components used to store and retrieve the information could be reduced, so could the amount of electricity.
They have discovered a way of using carbon nanotubes - tiny tubes 10,000 times thinner than a human hair - instead.
Feng Xiong, a graduate student on the team who was lead author on a paper, to be published in the journal Science, explained: "The energy consumption is essentially scaled with the volume of the memory bit.

Read full original post - 'Mobile phones could run for months between charges'


Monday, March 14, 2011

With this Skype I do wed: Couple get married by web video

Well, it looks like a new trend is starting.....marriage by Skype. This began through a groom being ill in hospital, yet it could grow. Saves on travel expenses!

It was meant to be a tradition wedding with the bride wearing white, the groom a tuxedo and 500 guests watching the ceremony. But instead of standing together to take their vows, Samuel Kim and Helen Oh were seven miles apart as she said 'I do'  on a computer screen. The couple married in Fullerton, southern California, on Skype video after he fell ill and landed in a hospital isolation ward.

Skype wedding: Bride Helen Oh stands alone at the altar as her husband-to-be Samuel Kim watches her from his isolation ward on the jumbo-sized screen
Skype wedding: Bride Helen Oh stands alone at the altar as her husband-to-be Samuel Kim watches her from his isolation ward on the jumbo-sized screen.

Guests watched on jumbo-sized screens as the Korean couple, both 27, stood alone - Oh at the Grace Ministries church and Kim in his room at the UCI Medical Center in Orange County. He told her: 'Helen, my wife, I'm very, very sorry for not being able to walk you down the aisle or stand at the altar, but today is just one day. 'We're going to live for a very long time. I promise to be a perfect husband from now on to make up for this.' Five cameramen captured the ceremony last Saturday on split screens while Kim watched on a laptop in his room which had been filled with flowers by nurses.

Read more at - 'With this Skype I do wed: Couple get married by web video'


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Chinese mega-city building huge security system

The UK's Telegraph has a post about the Chinese mega-city of Chongqing which plans to build a $2.6 billion (£1.6 billion) security system that will be one of the world's largest with 500,000 surveillance cameras:

The system would dwarf a network of 40,000 security cameras installed in the capital of China's far-western Xinjiang region last year, following deadly July 2009 clashes between Muslim Uighurs and members of the majority Han group.
Chongqing's more than 500,000 cameras, which are due to be installed by 2012, will mainly be used for crime prevention, emergency controls and rescue operations, a police spokesman told the Global Times.
The computerised cameras will be managed under one network, allowing authorities and emergency services in the province-sized area of more than 30 million people to share the video feeds, the paper said.
A crackdown on organised crime two years ago in the sprawling municipality led to numerous high-level prosecutions for corruption and mafia crime that have shocked the nation as it revealed Chongqing's underworld.

See original post - 'Chinese mega-city building huge security system'


Friday, March 04, 2011

If It's Not the Destination and It's Not the Journey...

A post over at John Thackara's Observer's Room points to how much of our city traffic is caused by drivers just searching for a place to park! Yep - read on.....

A study by Transportation Alternatives found that up to 45 percent of traffic in an area of Brooklyn was caused by cars circling the streets looking for parking. And in 2006, UCLA professor of urban planning Donald Shoup calculated that, within a year, vehicles searching for parking in a small business district in LA consumed 47,000 gallons of gas and produced 730 tons of carbon dioxide.

Faced by such shocking numbers, the default reaction of some people has been to look to technology for an answer. Let's invent a system, they resolved, that enables drivers to find open parking spaces without delay. A team at Rutgers University, for example, uses ultrasonic sensors, GPS receivers and cellular networks to find empty parking spaces; they relay this information to drivers using internet maps and navigation systems.

To optimize the search process, the Rutgers team placed ultrasonic sensors on the passenger-side door of three cars and used them to collect data on empty parking spaces over a period of two months during daily commutes through Highland Park, New Jersey. From this, the engineers developed an algorithm that used these ultrasound readings to reveal the number of available parking spaces with 95 percent accuracy. By combining this information with GPS data, they were able to produce maps of occupied and unoccupied spaces that were 90 percent accurate.

Read original post at - 'If It's Not the Destination and It's Not the Journey...'


Monday, February 28, 2011

Tiny device could transform mobile communications

The Guardian UK has a post on a new device that could transform mobile communications - a golf ball-sized mobile phone base station that can be deployed 'almost anywhere' in the world:

lightRadio cube 

Mobile phone base stations no bigger than a golf ball could help to bridge the digital divide and bring mobile broadband to distant areas both in the developing and developed world, the networking company Alcatel-Lucent has claimed.

The company said on Monday that its new technology, which shrinks many of the functions of a standard base station down to a few chips which fit in a cube it calls "lightRadio", would mean that mobile networks could run their systems with lower power demands and half the cost overall, while broadening deployment. The "lightRadio" technology, which will be tested by a number of mobile operators around the world including Orange, Verizon in the US and the world's largest network, China Mobile, could halve network operating costs and do the same for power demands, said Wim Sweldens, head of the company's mobile business at a presentation in London.

The base stations – reduced from the bulky cabinet of past years to a system-on-a-chip integrated circuit made by semiconductor company Freescale – can be installed wherever there is electricity, and can then connect either over an internet connection or via microwave links to processing units elsewhere.

 Read more at - 'Tiny device could transform mobile communications'


Friday, February 25, 2011

For Funerals Too Far, Mourners Gather on the Web

The New York Times has an interesting post on the trend in web-streaming weddings, funerals, and like-minded events:

In an age of commemorating birthdays, weddings and anniversaries on Facebook and Twitter, it was perhaps inevitable that live Web-streaming funerals for friends and loved ones would be next.

It is no surprise that the deaths of celebrities, like Michael Jackson, or honored political figures, like the United States diplomat Richard Holbrooke, are promoted as international Web events. So, too, was the memorial service for the six people killed Jan. 8 in Tucson, which had thousands of viewers on the Web.
But now the once-private funerals and memorials of less-noted citizens are also going online. 

Several software companies have created easy-to-use programs to help funeral homes cater to bereaved families. FuneralOne a one-stop shop for online memorials that is based in St. Clair, Mich., has seen the number of funeral homes offering Webcasts increase to 1,053 in 2010, from 126 in 2008 (it also sells digital tribute DVDs). 

During that same period, Event by Wire, a competitor in Half Moon Bay, Calif., watched the number of funeral homes live-streaming services jump to 300 from 80. And this month, the Service Corporation International in Houston, which owns 2,000 funeral homes and cemeteries, including the venerable Frank E. Campbell funeral chapel on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, said it was conducting a pilot Webcasting program at 16 of its funeral homes.

Read more at 'For Funerals Too Far, Mourners Gather on the Web'


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Social networks vs. US Intelligence

 Al Jazeera's John Terrett reports in a video (see link below) how,

The heads of US intelligence agencies have been testifying before a congressional committee on issues regarding threats to the country's national security. Recent political revolts have exposed the failure of intelligence services to timely alert the White House about the situations in Egypt and Tunisia.

Questions have emerged as to how the intelligence services were less well informed than people on Facebook and Twitter about the spirit of revolution enveloping the Middle East.

Read more here - 'Social networks vs. US Intelligence'


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Social networks, social revolution

Have Youtube, Facebook and Twitter become the new weapons of mass mobilisation? This is what Al-Jazeera is now discussing on one of their programs:

Information is power, but 21st century technology has unleashed an information revolution, and now the genie is out of the bottle. Youtube, Facebook and Twitter have become the new weapons of mass mobilisation; geeks have taken on dictators; bloggers are dissidents; and social networks have become rallying forces for social justice.

As people around the world challenge authorities, from Iran to Tunisia, Egypt to Yemen, entire societies are being transformed as ordinary citizens see the difference, imagine the alternative, and come together to organise for a better future.

So, are social networks triggering social revolution? And where will the next domino fall?

Joining Marwan Bishara to discuss these issues are: Carl Bernstein, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist; Amy Goodman, the host and executive producer of Democracy Now!; Professor Emily Bell, the director of digital journalism at Columbia University; Evgeny Morozov, the author of The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom; Professor Clay Shirky, the author of Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age.

This episode of Empire can be seen from Thursday, February 17, at the following times GMT: Thursday: 0630, 2030; Friday: 1230; Saturday: 0130; Sunday: 0630, 2010.

See more - and watch the video - over at 'Social networks, social revolution


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cuba ‘goes digital’

It appears from this post over at EuroNews that Cuba is finally embracing the 'digital age'...will it also encourage social networking and 'smart mobs' I wonder??

More than five decades after the Cuban revolution, the Caribbean island has embraced the digital revolution. A high-speed fibre optic Internet cable connecting Cuba with Venezuela arrived on the island on Wednesday. It was brought ashore in a ceremony attended by dignitaries from both countries.

Officials say it will provide a connection speed 3,000 times faster than at present. Despite the revamped access, authorities say Internet use will be limited to “social” purposes and that priority would be given to developing public Internet access centres, especially in universities and other educational institutions.

Read more at 'Cuba ‘goes digital’


Wednesday, February 09, 2011

A future without car crashes?

The BBC website has an interesting piece on the latest technologies in the auto-industry, including auto-braking and the 'intelligent windscreen' to try to eliminate fatal car crashes:

More than a million people die in car accidents each year but experts in the industry now believe fatal smashes could be eliminated. Some hope there could be an end to car crashes altogether. Scientists and engineers are developing technology and enhancements to cars that would aid drivers to the extent that crashes would become rarer events. Bad weather conditions and poor judgement would be mitigated by the car itself.

But in the short term the focus is on car crash victims, with sophisticated technology being mapped out to ensure drivers can survive even truly catastrophic accidents..

...Volvo believe in the future they can stop cars from ever crashing. They are developing auto-braking technology to ensure cars come to a stop when they sense another car coming close to them - both from the front and the side...

 ...At General Motors' research lab in Detroit, scientists are investigating how the car itself can make up for our shortcomings - by enhancing the driver's senses.
They are developing a prototype windscreen, which they hope will give drivers a kind of "superhuman" vision - the Advanced Vision System.

Read more at - 'A future without car crashes?'


Friday, February 04, 2011

Cyber attacks: from Facebook to nuclear weapons

The Telegraph has a short piece on how cyber attacks are set to become part of everyday life in the 21st Century, citing such targets as social networking sites to secret nuclear facilities; and the need to establish new global conventions: 

World leaders are facing calls to amend the Geneva and Hague conventions to draw up “rules of engagement” for “cyber war”. Here are some of main types of cyber attack:
Denial-of-Service (DoS):
Also known as distributed denial-of-service attack (DdoS), this involves crmiinals attempting to bring down or cripple individual websites, computers or networks often by flooding them with messages.
Malicious software designed to take over individuals’ computers in order to spread a bug onto other people’s devices or social networking profiles. It can also infect a computer and turn it into part of a “botnet” – networks of computers controlled remotely by hackers known as “herders” to spread spam or virusus. 

State cyber attacks:
US and Israeli intelligence agencies are believed to have recently used a mysterious computer virus called Stuxnet to carry out an invisible attack on Iran’s secretive nuclear programme.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently admitted that its facilities had been infected by the programme which appears to target and disable uranium enrichment centrifuges....
Read original post - 'Cyber attacks: from Facebook to nuclear weapons'


Monday, January 31, 2011

Britons spend more time driving than socialising

It appears that despite rising petrol prices, the average UK motorist now clocks up a record 7,413 miles per year, according to new research. Well....this is modern life in our 'iron cages'!

Britons spend more time driving than socialising 

Britons have become so reliant on their cars that most spend more than one working day (10 hours) every week driving. This compares to just 3.7 hours spent walking, 2.7 hours showering and 4.6 hours socialising with friends and family.

The yearly total of 7,413 miles is the equivalent of driving from London to Cape Town and comes at an average costs of £1,078. As the need for social, shopping and commuting mobility has increased, motorists now spend nearly two more days driving every year than they did ten years ago. The average motorist now spends three full years of their life driving. Men spend 533 hours behind the wheel each year, which is longer than women who spend 506 hours driving each year. Men are also more likely to undertake longer, one-off drives - spending 21 hours a year driving on weekend trips and 29 hours behind the wheel on business.

The top journey for women on the other hand is the daily drive to work (122 hours a year), followed by shopping trips (91 hours) and visiting friends and family (96 hours).

Read more at the original post - 'Britons spend more time driving than socialising'


Friday, January 28, 2011

‘Stranded: An Eruption of Disruption’

The latest edition of the journal 'Mobilities' is now released: Stranded: An Eruption of Disruption’ and the mayhem that followed the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull volcano some of the articles have been kindly given free access by their authors which we hope you will download and enjoy.  

        Stranded: An Eruption of Disruption
Thomas Birtchnell; Monika Büscher       ole0FREE   
        Anticipation, Materiality, Event: The Icelandic Ash Cloud Disruption and the Security of Mobility
Peter Adey; Ben Anderson               
        On the Edge of Chaos: European Aviation and Disrupted Mobilities
Michael O’Regan                
        A Fiasco of Volcanic Proportions? Eyjafjallajökull and the Closure of European Airspace
Lucy Budd; Steven Griggs; David Howarth; Stephen Ison   ole1FREE   
        Grounded: Impacts of and Insights from the Volcanic Ash Cloud Disruption
Jo Guiver; Juliet Jain         
        People and Technologies as Resources in Times of Uncertainty
David Barton           
        Emotional Eruptions, Volcanic Activity and Global Mobilities – A Field Account from a European in the US During the Eruption of Eyjafjallajökull
Ole B. Jensen          
        Inspired by Eruptions? Eyjafjallajökull and Icelandic Tourism
Karl Benediktsson; Katrín Anna Lund; Edward Huijbens           
        Eyjafjallajökull 4′33″: A Stillness in Three Parts
Daryl Martin           
        Fire as a Metaphor of (Im)Mobility
Bülent Diken    ole2FREE   
Individual Articles    
        Constructing Global/Local Subjectivities – The New Zealand OE as Governance through Freedom
Anika Haverig          
        The Circular International Migration of New Zealanders: Enfolded Mobilities and Relational Places
Allan M. Williams; Natalia Chaban; Martin Holland


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Researchers launch mobile device 'to spot paedophiles'

Lancaster University is back on the digital map of research as its Child Defence project has launched a mobile device 'to spot paedophiles'.See here:

A mobile phone application which claims to identify adults posing as children is to be released.
The team behind Child Defence says the app can analyse language to generate an age profile, identifying potential paedophiles.

Isis Forensics developed the tool after parental concerns over children accessing sites on their mobiles.
But child protection experts warned against such technology lulling people into thinking they are safe. 

Child Defence project leader James Walkerdine, based at Lancaster University, said: "This software improves children's chances of working out that something isn't right."Parents told us they would much prefer to see software solutions that empowered and educated their children to help them protect themselves."

Child campaigning charity NSPCC hopes the application will encourage children to report the crime - but warned of complacency.

Read more at - 'Researchers launch mobile device 'to spot paedophiles''


Monday, January 24, 2011

Mobile to be used to control satellite

It appears that British engineers are to send a mobile phone into space to control a satellit...according to this post in The Telegraph:

The phone, which will run Google's Android operating system, will take pictures of the Earth later this year.
The project is being run by a British firm called Surrey Satellite Technology Limited, based in Guildford, which wants to test a modern phone in the most hostile environment possible, the BBC reported.

Although it will be a smartphone, the precise model has not been disclosed. It will be the first time a phone has gone into orbit.

Shaun Kenyon, the project manager, said: "Modern smartphones are pretty amazing.
"They come now with processors that can go up to 1GHz, and they have loads of flash memory. First of all, we want to see if the phone works up there, and if it does, we want to see if the phone can control a satellite.

Read more at - 'Mobile to be used to control satellite'